The Las Vegas Aces come into this season hoping to start their first season in “Sin City” better than the way they left San Antonio last season. In 2017, the then-San Antonio Stars went 8-26 where the team struggled to find chemistry all year long and ended up with the WNBA’s worst record.
After a period of uncertainty in the fall, the Stars were sold to MGM Resorts, who moved the team to Las Vegas where they will play in the Mandalay Bay Arena this summer. The Aces also have the top pick in this year’s draft and are widely expected to draft A’ja Wilson with it. Let’s take a look at what the Aces need to have a successful 2018 season, even if they don’t get a playoff spot.
Offensive Rating: 96.2 (12th)
Defensive Rating: 105.2 (8th)
Pace: 92.1 (10th)
The good - Isabelle Harrison took advantage of more playing time, averaging over 11 points a game.
The bad - The Stars had the worst record in the league last season. There wasn’t much to root for all around. But Kayla McBride shot well under 40 percent from the field though she was the leading scorer. Sure, McBride didn’t have much around her, but it wasn’t even her best season in the league statistically.
What have the Stars/Aces done in the offseason?
Key Departures: The Stars’ head coach Vickie Johnson and general manager Ruth Riley, were not retained when the team relocated to Las Vegas. Kayla Alexander went to the Indiana Fever. Alex Montgomery signed with the Chicago Sky.
Key Additions: The Aces hired Bill Laimbeer as their General Manager and Head Coach when the Stars relocated to Las Vegas.
They also signed Carolyn Swords and Tamera Young to be a veteran presence. The Aces also signed Ivey Slaughter, but she only played two games for the Liberty last season.
Re-signings: The Aces re-signed their 2014 first round pick Kayla McBride who was their leading scorer last season.
Las Vegas also re-signed reserves Sequoia Holmes and Cierra Burdick. French forward Valeriane Ayayi is also coming back to the franchise for he first time since 2015.
The Aces’ draft picks
The Aces hold the first overall pick. They also hold the 13th and 25th picks in the second and third rounds, respectively.
What do the Aces need?
The 2017 San Antonio Stars were an all around poor team, so they need a bit of everything. The easy answer is that Vegas needs to draft A’ja Wilson with the first pick, and then see how their young core players like McBride, Moriah Jefferson, and Kelsey Plum fit in with her.
Beyond that, the Aces need more offensive weapons and efficiency all around. It won’t come altogether this season, but hopefully the Aces will show their fans that they have a bright future ahead. That’s the most important thing, and adding Wilson is a step in that direction.